I was crazy about him.
We'd been dating a couple of years, somehow keeping up a long-distance relationship even though we lived an-hour-and-a-half apart and in different states. I worked a couple of times a month in the town where he lived, which gave us time for lunches when evenings were too busy. We'd both been married before. He had two children; I had one. I was in my early thirties, and he was five years older. I was sure he loved me, but I couldn't get him to discuss the future. I felt as though we were spinning in place, going around in circles and not getting anywhere.
In October of that year, he went to China on a business trip. I missed him terribly and couldn't wait to see him when he got home. He was supposed to arrive home on Sunday night, and I waited up for the call. It didn't come that night.
It came the next day. He was too tired to talk the night before. He was really busy with things he'd gotten behind on while he was gone. We made plans to get together Wednesday.
My feelings were hurt. It seemed to me I was much more anxious to be with him than he was to be with me. For two days the hurt feelings festered. On Wednesday when we finally got together, I broke up with him.
To say he was shocked was an understatement.
Over the next two months, he called often. He sent cards and notes and had flowers delivered to my office and my home.
I was determined to move on and started dating someone else. He continued to call although I was honest with him about the other guy.
On days when I worked in his town, I found myself taking the long way around so I wouldn't have to drive by his business. I didn't want to take the chance of seeing him unexpectedly.
He sent me a Christmas card with a note at the bottom that read: You still have the key. Yes, I still had the key to his house, but I knew he was referring to more than that. The note made me cry, so I added another layer of ice around my heart to protect it from the uncomfortable feelings.
Two days before Christmas, I was scheduled for a meeting in his town. Before I left my office, I mentioned to my secretary about taking the long way around. She looked me straight in the eye and said," Maybe if you're afraid to see him, you should ask yourself why."
Her words played over and over in my head throughout the meeting.
Why couldn't I take the chance of seeing him? Because I knew in my heart that I was still crazy about him and seeing him would only make the pain worse.
It was snowing when I came out of the meeting and walked to my car. There was a note on my windshield. Don't even think about leaving town without seeing me.
The note sent my heart into overdrive, beating so hard it made my stomach queasy. I drove to his house knowing the time for decision had come. He must have been watching because he met me at the door before I even knocked. He held the door open and I stepped inside. I don't remember saying anything. I only remember standing there, looking at each other. And then we were in each others' arms.
No kiss had ever felt so right. My heart was still beating wildly, but this time with joy.
I couldn't stay long. The snow was sure to make driving difficult, and I had to get home to my daughter.
He showed up at my house later that evening. We talked ... and talked ... and talked.
And at the end of all the talking, he proposed.
That all happened twenty-nine years ago today.
I love him more now than I did then. And that love has grown to embrace our children and now our grandchildren.
Every year around Christmas, I get a little giddy and overly sentimental, especially if it snows. I remember the flowers and the phone calls and the notes and my secretary's sage words of advice.
Best of all, I remember the kiss that thawed my heart for good.